Corby Town got themselves back on track in the Evo-Stik League South Division One Central with a 3-2 success over Didcot Town at Steel Park.
An impressive 10-minute spell at the start of the second half proved decisive for the Steelmen as they took the game away from their fellow high-fliers to further cement third place in the table and keep some pressure on the top two of Peterborough Sports and Bromsgrove Sporting who were both big winners once again.
Having been the green light by the board to make additions to his squad earlier this week, boss Steve Kinniburgh confirmed a new signing ahead of the game with frontman Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson arriving from Grantham Town.
And he was thrown straight into starting line-up as Kinniburgh opted to make a change following the 2-1 home defeat to Dunstable Town last weekend.
The new boy looked bright early on and he had a couple of early efforts blocked before a swift counter-attack from Didcot ended with Dan George holding on to John Dennis’ well-struck shot.
And it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on the quarter-hour when Luke Carnell was left unmarked after a corner had been recycled and he made no mistake with a firm close-range header.
But Corby responded well and top scorer Elliot Sandy saw a header from a Connor Kennedy cross cannon off the crossbar before they got back on level terms.
Jordon Crawford delivered a corner from the left and visiting goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell was all at sea as he missed the ball and could only turn to see it nestling in the far corner.
Didcot finished the half well with Lance Williams missing his kick in front of goal before Greg Hackett shot over after cutting in from the left.
But the Steelmen started the second period with renewed vigour and two goals in four minutes put them in control.
Fortnam-Tomlinson played in Jordan Francis who didn’t get a proper connection with just Bedwell to beat. But the goalkeeper spilled the ball and the Corby winger didn’t wasted the second chance as he stabbed into an empty net.
And the Steelmen were given some breathing space by the impressive Kennedy who skipped past a couple of challenges before producing a fine low finish for his 10th goal of the campaign.
Fortnam-Tomlinson drove an effort just wide but it was game on again after 69 minutes when Didcot substitute Felibe Barcelos beat one player and then got round Dan George before his cool finish got his team back into it.
However, there were few nervous moments for the Steelmen and they so nearly regained their two-goal advantage when Bedwell produced an excellent save to turn substitute Greg Ling’s long-range effort around the post.
Pablo Haysham-Membrillera volleyed over for Didcot after a long throw had been flicked on but the game finished on an unsavoury note.
Kennedy threw himself into a couple of challenges high up the pitch and saw red for the second of them, although he was followed down the tunnel by Adam Learoyd who was dismissed for retaliation, although there was a question mark of whether the right man had been sent-off.
And Didcot were left fuming at the death when they were convinced a Corby hand had been used during a bit of a scramble as they hunted an equaliser.
Their protests continued after the final whistle but no-one from a Steelmen persuasion was concerned.
The title remains a bit of a long shot at this stage but this win got Kinniburgh’s team back on course and cemented their position in the top five.
They just have to keep going from here...
Steelmen: George; Anton, Mulligan, Gordon, Warburton; Carta (sub Ling, 66 mins), Kennedy; Francis, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Crawford (sub Nkrumah, 90 mins); Sandy (sub Robinson, 79 mins). Subs not used: Arthur, Atcha.
Didcot: Bedwell; Barder, Carnell, Learoyd, McNeil; Hayden, McNish; Dennis, Humphries (sub Membrillera, 64 mins), Hackett (sub M Williams, 75 mins); L Williams (sub Barcelos, 64 mins). Subs not used: Thomas, Gardner.
Referee: Ruebyn Ricardo.
Goals: Carnell (15 mins, 0-1), Crawford (19 mins, 1-1), Francis (51 mins 2-1), Kennedy (55 mins, 3-1), Barcelos (69 mins, 3-2).
Sendings-off: Kennedy (serious foul play), Learoyd (retaliation).
The Raj (www.therajrestaurant.net) man-of-the-match: Gary Mulligan - often overlooked, the Steelmen captain turned in another solid display at the back. While there were a few errors, Corby kept a lively Didcot side fairly quiet for lengthy periods of the game. Mulligan won headers, including some crucial ones towards the end and marshalled the troops to help see the job through.